Ready to get away to the great outdoors? Whether you are planning a camping trip in your RV, fifth wheel or travel trailer, HomeFirst® Agency wants to share some ways to have a safe and relaxing adventure. Check out our top eight tips before you hit the road.
1. Research your campsite and book in advance.
You want to find the best campsite for your family trip. So, you’ll need to know if the size and height of your RV or camper can be accommodated, and check what amenities the campground has on site like fire pits, showers and picnic tables. Do you want to bring your furry friends with you? Check for campsites that allow pets. Camping with your kiddos? You might want to look for campgrounds with a playground or child-friendly activities. Reading reviews and the guidelines for each site should help you choose.
Some campgrounds have a first-come, first-serve policy, but booking in advance has two benefits. First, you won’t show up after a long day of driving to find a fully-booked campsite without spots available. Reserving your place beforehand can save you some last-minute panic. Second, if you make reservations, you can pick your spot. You may want to be farther away from the main encampment for more privacy, or you might be dry camping and prefer being closer to the restrooms. The earlier you book, the more choice you will have.
2. Plan your packing.
When packing, include essentials like flashlights, first-aid kits, water, any medical prescriptions, a repair kit and more. Nothing puts a damper on your vacation like realizing you’ve forgotten to bring something you need. To cut down on extra stress, make a checklist of everything you will be bringing and double check it before heading out.
3. Take care of your RV.
Make sure your RV receives any needed servicing in the weeks before your trip. And while you’re on the road, be sure to keep an eye on your gas levels and the air pressure in your tires. Bringing a generator and propane can also be helpful in case of power outages when you are on site.
4. Set up safely.
We recommend getting to the site early enough that there are at least a couple of hours left of daylight. It will be easier for you to park and set up with better visibility, and you are more likely to avoid obstructions like branches. Hooking up to water, electricity and sewage will also be easier in the daytime.
Also, secure your wheels and make sure your RV or camper is level on your spot. If the ground isn’t flat, use leveling blocks or RV jacks. This will also benefit you when you fill up your water tank so you can tell if it is really maximized. Just like a checklist for packing, it can be helpful to have a camping setup checklist to follow so you enjoy family and relaxation time sooner.
5. Practice fire safety.
Cooking over a fire or having a s’mores night is all part of the camping experience. However, you’ll need to follow fire safety guidelines. Stick to the fire pit or ring provided by the campground, and the fire should be 15 ft. clear of anything else to keep your items from catching fire. Have your water bucket and shovel close by and ready, and fully extinguish the fire, not leaving it unattended until it is completely out and cooled. We recommend learning about how to prevent fires inside your RV too.
6. Dump waste safely.
One benefit of an RV or camper is having a private bathroom, but with that benefit comes maintaining your sewage, known as black water. Keep an eye on your black tank and dump as often as needed. We highly recommend wearing gloves during the process, and you should drain the black water first. If you don’t have sewage hook up at your campsite, find an on-site dump station to safely dispose of waste. Pro tip: Use RV-safe toilet paper when using your RV’s restroom.
7. Keep away the bugs and wildlife.
Remember while your camping, you are sharing the outdoors with the local insects and animals. When hiking, wearing tall socks can help prevent tick bites, and insect repellant, citronella bracelets and netting can help keep pests like mosquitos at bay. Avoid leaving food, trash or dishes out so as not to attract ants and wild animals. Wiping down tables and washing dishes after each meal will also help.
8. Clean up after yourself before you leave.
Be respectful of the campground by packing up all your belongings and picking up any trash. You’ll want to leave the spot in good condition for the next campers.
And, of course, our bonus tip is to have fun! Camping is a great time for hiking, swimming and fishing during the day and roasting marshmallows and playing board games in the evening. Stay safe and make memories to enjoy for years. Happy camping!